Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Journal

I've been trying to improve my prayer life. My main thing this year is to pray boldly. I'll pray throughout the day, but I try to set aside time to pray one good, long prayer. All the requests that have been piling up. All the things that have been on my heart. All the things that need urgent, bold prayer.

And then I fall asleep.

Oh, come on! Like you've never fallen asleep praying? Sometimes when I've had trouble falling asleep, I pray because I know that does the trick.

It's not that I don't want to pray. It's not that I'm not focused. It's just that having a few moments to myself wherein I close my eyes can be troublesome. Toddlers are tiring, yo!

I've come up with a way to prevent myself from falling asleep during prayer. What, you ask, is this miracle method?

A prayer journal.

So it's not a new idea. It's not a revolutionary one, either, unless you fully expect a revolution in your prayer life (which it provides). It's very difficult to fall asleep in the middle of writing. It gives me focus, and it gives me something active to do as I pray. I can also go back and look at my previous prayers to see how they've been answered. I simply write in the form of a letter. You know, "Are you there, God? It's me, Rachel." Or something like that.

This was my first prayer journal:

My college roommate, Colleen, and a friend of hers run a blog called CleverNesting. It's got all sorts of repurposed craft ideas. This journal is actually a composition notebook with a homemade cover on it. The cover is made out of an old silk tie. They are clever girls, aren't they? You can find your own tie and make a cover yourself following the directions here. I happened to win mine from CleverNesting's first giveaway. Lucky me!

I really like this journal because it calls to me. It's bright and shiny—something I see out of the corner of my eye and know exactly what it is, and then I say to myself, "I should take time to pray right now."

But I've discovered something brighter and shinier.

My laptop.

Oh, bane of my existence! I got the laptop because I was supposed to have back surgery. And, by the way, I had a dream last night that I had back surgery and Margaret Feinberg was my nurse or something, and every bottle of orange juice she brought me was almost empty. That woman shows up everywhere! Strange.

But I digress.

I got the laptop so I would be able to work on the computer while I was laid up. Instead, it's become a constant presence on my lap. Instead of my fabulous prayer journal.


I created an electronic prayer journal. I use a Microsoft Word document, change it so it's a pretty color and has a nifty border and all of that, and I type. It's amazing how much more I can type than write by hand. I mean, there's something I really like about writing by hand, but I can't deny the efficiency of typing. I'll pray for twice as long because my hand doesn't get tired from writing. It's awesome!

I also make a desktop icon with a star that links right to the journal, so every time I get on the computer, it's the first thing I see. Right there in the middle of my desktop. Staring at me.

There are a few other little tricks I've learned—how to insert a bookmark so I can pick back up where I left off without scrolling and scrolling. I also make a new document every once in a while so it doesn't get crazy long. I used to do it once a month, but now that I've figured out bookmarking, I do it less often. Right now, I keep track of my prayer requests in a comment box, but I'm trying to figure out if I can make a side panel with notes. Anyone have insight on that one?

So—that's prayer journaling. Writing letters to God. And not falling asleep.

Do you keep a prayer journal?

I do. And it's time for me to go use it. How can I pray for you, friends? Let me be your prayer warrior! E-mail me at


  1. I'm struggling to keep up with my personal journal so I don't have a specific one for prayer. I've tried to fall asleep praying. My mind wanders. I still keep trying!

  2. I try to journal daily with personal and prayer entries. It does work to keep my mind focused. AND I can go back and know how He answered them.

  3. I fall asleep praying almost every night, so I just do my short and sweet one at bed time, and (used to) keep a prayer journal, too! I need to start one up again. It's a new year!

  4. Wow- I just tried this and it worked! Been sooo busy and run down that even when I did set time aside for the Lord, I kept falling asleep. I went to my laptop and had a real quality time with the Lord, and I even heard His voice for the first time in a long time. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing this with us- you have blessed me sister!


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